Lecturers under the aegis of the Cross River Northern Senatorial Zone Academics at the University of Calabar on Monday raised the alarm over plans to sideline candidates from the region for the position of the institution’s vice-chancellor. The tenure of the incumbent vice-chancellor, Prof. James Epoke, expires in December 2015.
The senatorial district has not produced any VC since the inception of the university in 1975.
However, the lecturers, in a letter to Governor, Prof. Ben Ayade, titled: The vice-chancellorship of the University of Calabar-Justice for the Northern Senatorial Zone, said there were clandestine plans to sideline eligible candidates from their zone by increasing the years of experience of eligible professor from five to 10 years.
In a letter signed by the chairman and secretary of CRNSZA, Prof. Edde Iji and Dr. Liwhu Betiang respectively, the lecturers said the move to raise the bar on the requisite experience of eligible candidates to 10 years was to sideline contestants from the northern district.
The letter read in part, “While it is an established academic tradition that whoever is to be considered as the vice-chancellor must be a professor, the details of years of experience as one and other prerequisite are drawn by the governing council, taking into cognisance the peculiarity of the university.
“It is for that reason that the years of experience as a professor for appointment of vice-chancellor vary from university to university. Thus, in the University of Calabar, it has ranged from five to seven with the present vice-chancellor being seven as professor as of the time of his appointment in 2010.
“Curiously, the Governing Council has begun to lay emphasis on 10 years professorial experience and age limit of not more than 64 years as qualification. The implication is that nobody from the north would be qualified for consideration. The pretext is the law, but the ostensible reason is to scheme out the north.”
Already, a group of students from the region, on Friday, protested to draw the attention of the governing council of the university to the alleged move.